Friday, August 2, 2019

Zavanna With One New Permit In Stony Creek -- August 2, 2019

Active rigs:
Active Rigs5863593474

Three new permits, #36810 - #36812, inclusive:
  • Operators: Hess, Zavanna
  • Field: Tioga (Mountrail); Stony Creek (Williams County)
  • Comment: 
    • Hess has permits for a two-well TI-Jenson/Hanson pad in section 7-158-94, Tioga oil field
    • Zavanna has a permit for a Blue Heeler well in section 20-155-100, Stony Creek
That was all.

President Trump For The Win -- Wow -- August 2, 2019

Link here (one of many). Let's see if it makes the evening news. Or maybe it will be pre-empted by the incredible jobs report. Or perhaps record-low gasoline prices at height of driving season. LOL.

Hardly the work of a white supremacist. LOL.

Slow News Day ... And Then This -- US Payrolls Hit A Record High; Wages Exceed Forecast; Average Weekly Hours Edged Lower To 34.3 -- August 2, 2019

From CNBC:
  • the Labor Department reports that payrolls increased 164,000 during July, just 1,000 below the 165,000 Dow Jones forecast
  • wages increased 3.2% year over year, topping expectations by one-tenth of a percentage point
  • average weekly hours edged lower to 34.3. The total labor force came in at a record-high 163.4 million (fake news: INC implies the opposite -- that Americans are working longer; Americans working longer: it's a meme)

Later we will see record employment numbers for Asians, African-Americans, and those working for Democrat-nominating campaigns, some of whom are being paid $15/hour. What a great country. 

Impact of ObamaCare.

Most-viewed post at the blog on this subject: far-reaching impact of ObamaCare, dated March 13, 2013. At that post, back in 2013, I wrote:
Regular readers know that the blog was one of the first to note that until ObamaCare came along, the US had no definition or regulation or whatever for "an official work week" as did France. But with ObamaCare, the "official" work week for all companies with more than 50 employees* has now been defined as 30 hours by the government.**
* Incidentally, due to the quirkiness of the law, the IRS defines full-time employment, not the employer. If an employer has 100 workers each working 20 hours/week, the employer thinks she has 100 part-time workers and not subject to ObamaCare.  Wrong. The IRS divides the total number of hours worked by these 100 employees (in this case, 2,000 hours) by 120, the number of 30 hours in a 4-week period. 2,000/120 = 17. The employer has the equivalent of 17 full-time workers for ObamaCare purposes. If this is the entire workforce, I do not know if the employer is required to provide ObamaCare health insurance. Does the employer with 100 employees (though all "part-time" by the employers' definition) exceed the 50-employee threshold, or does the IRS "see" only 17 employees. My hunch is that the employer exceeds the 50-employee threshold with 100 employees, albeit all working under 20 hours, and that she will have to provide health care for "17-full-time-equivalents."  [Disclaimer/update, August 2, 2019: the math may be wrong, but the point should be well-taken. I may have used the wrong numerator in the example above; if the correct numerator is 8,000, then the "17 employees" becomes 66 employees, which in hindsight makes more sense. The employer thinks she has 100 part-time employees; the IRS says she has the equivalent of 66 full-time employees for whom she must provide health care insurance.]
**  The 30-hour threshold has other ramifications also. It is only a matter of time before employers will be required to pay overtime for any employee working longer than 30 hours/week, the "official" definition of full-time employment. This will end up in courts before it's all over.  
And so we see it. Companies are hiring more folks than ever, but the average weekly hours continue to edge downward.

There may be myriad reasons for the average number of jobs edging downward but ...

On another note: "uneducated" or perhaps more politically correct, "under-informed" low-wage earners will fall for / be taken in by the demagogic "$15/hour" mantra but, in fact, the hourly wage is irrelevant. It is the weekly, or monthly, or yearly income that matters. It is the benefits that matter. It is the work conditions that matter. The demagogic "$15/hour" serves only to help someone get elected, or re-elected.

And $15/hour is completely irrelevant if one does not have a job in the first place.

The Fine Art And Culture Page

I'm spending the afternoon in the cultural district of Ft Worth. It was a "pop-up" afternoon -- all of a sudden I found no one at home and noted that I have no Uber-driving responsibilities until this evening. I was free for eight hours.

So, I quickly got in the car, filled up with really inexpensive gasoline (thank you, Mr Trump) and high-tailed it down TX-121 for 20.5 miles to get to the Kimbell Art Museum.

I arrived much earlier than expected so I had time to walk across the street to have lunch and watch the National Cutting Horse Association "nationals" at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum. The "nationals" at this web page:
The Summer Cutting Spectacular is held in July and is the final leg of the NCHA Triple Crown of Cutting and is contested over 20 days.
It features the NCHA Derby for 4-year-olds, and the NCHA Classic Challenge for 5/6-year-olds and offers a purse of almost $2 million.
As the third jewel in the NCHA Triple Crown, the NCHA Derby has seen just three Open horses, and one Non-Pro horse claims the Triple Crown title.
This weekend will be the finals and the end so today was very, very quiet. Entrance free for spectators: free. Several upscale vendors provided lunch for very reasonable prices. I had Italian.

I've never seen such a relaxing competition. There is no crowd noise whatsoever. Can't spook the cattle.

One just sits on incredibly comfortable (padded) seats, enjoying lunch and drink and watching "cowboys" and "cowgirls" do their thing. The "warm-up" area had twelve riders getting ready: eight women riders and four men. Beautiful horses, and everyone with their best and most colorful blankets and saddles. Hardly a word from the arena. Mostly hand signals. No dogs. Just horses and yearlings while I was there. Incredibly relaxing. It's the sort of place one would like to be all day: bring a book, read, and watch the horses. I could have sat in box seats among the rich and famous but they would have soon found out I was an outsider -- a cowboy hat would have helped.

Tomorrow evening, the dinner is free. What a great country. I'm half expecting George W. Bush to make a surprise appearance. LOL. Now that would be cool.

An example:

After the "rodeo," I walked back across the street to visit the Kimbell Art Museum, my original destination. The Kimbell is "hosting" the second of two in a series of Monet showings, co-sponsored by the Fine Art Museum of San Francisco.

The two fine arts museums, the San Francisco and the Kimbell, have a long and wonderful relationship. The first in their recent Monet series, "The Early Years" was so much better but that's only because May and I had not seen many of Monet's early paintings.

"The Late Years" could have been titled "Water Lilies." That's about all they had. I've seen the water lilies so many times in Paris I really don't need to seem them again. However, what makes it most enjoyable is to see where these exhibition paintings generally hang. The paintings have come from around the world, including one from Japan. Most are from the Monet museum in Paris, which I believe may have been built especially for Monet's water lilies, but don't quote me on that. Easy enough to fact check.

There is one from the Portland Art Museum:

His iconic Japanese Footbridge is on display. It is owned by The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC:

This may have been the highlight of the exhibit. I've seen this one so many times in books it's nice to see it "in person." I would imagine it's priceless.

Notes From All Over, Part 1 -- August 2, 2019

It's a slow news day. I usually don't post the highlights from the Williston Wire until I get caught up, over the weekend. But here we go.

Tourism: Williston's third largest industry. One word: wow. Link here.
  • Fort Union Trading Post, the Walmart of its time
  • Fort Buford
  • the Confluence Interpretive Center (my personal favorite)
"Festival": this weekend, the Indian Arts Showcase and Pow Wow

XWA seeking more ultra-low-cost carrier. But no luck so far.

XWA billboards go up in western North Dakota.

Williston will extend 16th Avenue West and 42nd Street West, as part of the Sloulin Field Infrastructure Improvements initiative. The project contains approx 800 acres of developable land adjacent to the "Million Dollar Way" north of Williston, and the eponymous source of the name of this blog.

Watford City: a new housing development underway; a 144-acre residential subdivision to be located in close proximity to the Roughrider Center, Watford City high school and the new Watford City elementrary school.

Sidney: groundbreaking for a new Family Dollar store.

Living The Dream -- August 2, 2019

Bicycled into work at 5:20 a.m. Beautiful, beautiful bike ride.

Good luck to all. Off the net for awhile. Time to do some reading. 

Trouble In Paradise? Why Does This Not Surprise Me? J. D. Power On EVs -- August 2, 2019

Link at J.D. Power, a press release. Dateline: COSTA MESA, Calif.: 30 July 2019 —

"Out of the box, these scores are not encouraging."

The lede:
Consumers lack confidence in the future of self-driving vehicles and their outlook isn’t much better about the influx of battery-electric vehicles that manufacturers are spending billions of dollars to bring to market in the next several years, according to the inaugural J.D. Power 2019 Mobility Confidence Index Study fueled by SurveyMonkey Audience, SM released today.
The Mobility Confidence Index is 36 (on a 100-point scale) for self-driving vehicles and 55 for battery-electric vehicles.
Then this:
“As automakers head down the developmental road to self-driving vehicles and greater electrification, it’s important to know if consumers are on the same road—and headed in the same direction. That doesn’t seem to be the case right now. Manufacturers need to learn where consumers are in terms of comprehending and accepting new mobility technologies—and what needs to be done.”
  • 5,749 consumers polled about self-driving vehicles
  • 5,270 consumers  polled about EVs
  • sentiment definitions: low (0 - 40); neutral (41 - 60) and positive (61 - 100)
  • consumers have LOW confidence about the future of self-driving vehicles
  • 66% of respondents admit to having little knowledge about self-driving vehicles
  • consumers have a neutral level of confidence about the future of EVs
  • both consumers and industry experts recognize it will be well over a decade before EVs equal gas-powered vehicles in sales volumes
  • experts also predict it will be at least five years until EV market share reaches 10%
  • main deterrents to purchase: affordability and trust
  • secondary deterrents: battery cost, range, and supply capacity
  • tax subsidies and/or credits appear to be "almost" crucial 
  • this seems to be about what I expected
  • some will take this out of context saying that J.D. Power said that within a decade sales of EVs will equal those of ICEs; J. D. Power survey did not show that: it showed that it would be well over a decade when that might happen
  • it appears US consumers more willing to accept EVs than self-driving vehicles
  • actually, I'm not sure why the two -- EVs and self-driving vehicles -- are always "tied together"
Much more at the link.

I think there's enough "stuff" in this survey to satisfy both those inappropriately exuberant about EVs and those who think the whole "thing" is ludicrous, to use a word Musk Melon likes to use.

A Parthian shot:
From batteries in cheap Chinese toys to watches to computers to drones, batteries are a nuisance. A huge nuisance. They always need replacing (at great cost -- in many cases the batteries cost more than the toy they power) and they typically fail without warning. It's a hassle to find replacement batteries for a flashlight that goes dead at 3:30 in the morning during a power failure. Humans, by nature, don't like batteries. Even an Aboriginal Australian will opt for a home wired to the grid than accept a battery to power her home. Now combine that distaste for batteries and try to sell folks a $100,000 luxury battery golf cart, or a $35,000 sedan. That distaste for batteries will never go away. On top of that, there is nothing to suggest there will ever be a technological breakthrough for a really better battery. On the other hand, batteries are going to get more expensive -- for vehicles, much more expensive -- and the disposal issue will become an even bigger issue.

WTI Begins To Recover -- August 2, 2019

One day later: surprise, surprise. I thought it would take a month or so for WTI to confirm that the market reaction to the new China tariffs was over-done. WTI starts to recover. Up 2.4%; up about $1.30; trading at $55.25.

Hope springs eternal: Keystone XL inches forward. Bloomberg
An order issued by a Montana judge barring certain pre-construction activities was dissolved on Monday, according to the Canadian company. That followed a June ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that a new presidential permit negated challenges to the project’s earlier approval, TC Energy said Thursday in its second-quarter earnings statement.
The victory is only a partial win for TC Energy and the Keystone XL project, which would ship more crude from Canada’s oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. TC Energy said in May it was already too late to start major construction activity this year. 
The project also still faces a legal challenge in Nebraska, and a decision on that matter is due this quarter.
Permian light: making its way to "oil-starved" buyers in Asia -- Bloomberg. This is that new grade of American light crude oil we've been hearing so much about: West Texas Light crude, yields a high proportion of naphtha and other distillates when processed with low levels of impurities like sulfur (that's why it's called "sweet").
  • SK operators looking for something to replace Iranian oil and an ultra-light oil known as condensate
  • SK has been the worst hit due to a halt in Iranian South Pars flows
  • West Texas Light: makes up 20% of production in the Permian
  • API gravity of 45 - 50 
  • lighter than the more-often exported WTI Midland crude with an API gravity of 38 - 42
  • much more at the link
  • may get a stand-alone post
  • big story
OXY: will pair up with Ecopetrol in the Permian
  • Ecopetrol? Colombia-based
  • JV to develop almost 100,000 net acres of Occidental-owned Midland Basin properties in West Texas
  • Ecopetrol to pay $750 million in cash at closing and $750 million of carried capital 
  • Ecopetrol with 49% interest in JV
  • Ecopetrol will be able to book 160 million boe of proved undeveloped reserves at closing
  • should progressively increase production until 2027
  • should reach 95,000 boepd
  • let's see, $750 x 4 = $3 billion / 97,000 net acres = about $30,000 / acre
Amazon: Findlay, Ohio. 800 jobs. Link here. New million-square-foot facility approved for a site in Findlay Township long expected to be Amazon but never confirmed.

EVs: JD Powers. Link here

Offshore: Shell has taken final investment decision for the PowerNap deepwater project in the US GOM. Link here. PowerNap:
  • a subsea tie-back to Shell-operated Olympus production hub; 
  • expected to start production in late 2021;
  • to produce 35,000 boe at peak rate;
  • a forward-looking break-even price of less than $35/bbl; and,
  • currently estimated to contain more than 85 million boe
Oh-oh: Enbridge pipeline explodes in Kentucky, killing one, injuring others.

Back to the Bakken

No wells coming off the confidential list today

Active rigs:

Active Rigs5863593474

RBN Energy: prospects for natural gas demand in western Canada, part 3.
Growing natural gas supplies in Western Canada have been pressuring gas prices and export pipelines in the region, but there are signs that at least some of that supply-growth pressure is being offset by rising gas demand. Though the region is pegged as primarily a winter gas market — where local demand only rises when the temperature falls into the winter extremes — non-weather-related demand for natural gas has been growing in Western Canada and looks to have further upside in the years ahead. Today, we delve into Alberta and British Columbia’s gas demand trends and their potential to help balance the region’s oversupply conditions.
Today’s blog is the third in our series examining the natural gas balance in Western Canada and how this region has been coping with the intense — and still growing — competition from expanding natural gas supplies in the U.S.
In part 1, we began with an overview of supply and demand factors affecting gas prices at AECO, Western Canada’s benchmark hub. In short, the growth in gas supplies there has pushed the existing pipeline delivery network in the region to its limit, creating a situation of too much supply pushing on too little pipeline export capacity. And that supply growth has continued even as natural gas prices have weakened in the past few years.
In part 2, we looked at the specific drivers behind the rising natural gas supplies in Western Canada, and concluded that despite low gas prices, producers have squeaked through by reducing costs and consolidating development in the most economically attractive corridors of the Montney, Duvernay and other unconventional plays. That’s also meant focusing drilling activity in crude oil and NGL-rich areas. That helps boost producers’ margins but yields significant volumes of associated natural gas as a by-product — to the point of leaving the region oversupplied and takeaway-constrained on the gas side, and with historically low — even negative — gas prices.